Château de Talcy, France

The Château de Talcy is a historical building in Talcy, Loir-et-Cher, France. It lies to the north of the Loire River, in the Loire Valley, known for its 16th-century châteaux. From a fortification in existence in the 13th Century additional wings were added in the 1620s. Modernised in the 18th Century the interiors have been preserved. A Historical Monument first registered in 1906 it has been owned by the state since 1933. It is open to visitors.

History
It was first referenced in an act in 1221, although no description of the building is given.The title of Seigneur de Talcy was used in reference to the St Lazare family..It was bought in 1466 by a Parisian lawyer: Pierre Simon. The central tower was built by the Simon family in 1480. Three generations of the Simon family lived there before the family line died out on the death of Jean Simon, Bishop of Paris in 1502. His sister, Marie was the final owner. The building was bought from Marie Simon in 1517 by Roberto Bernard Salviati, a Florentine banker and his wife Francoise (neé Doucet). Bernard Salviati requested that the building be fortified, the request was granted in 1520 by Jean d’Orleans-Longueville, archbishop of Toulouse and Seigneur of Beaugency. However limitations were placed on Salviati as to Seigneural rights: he could not keep an armed guard. Salviati was in a difficult situation, needing to be close to king François 1, as his banker yet not a French citizen.

The estate is better known in literary, rather than architectural history. Salviati’s daughter and granddaughter, Cassandre and Diane, were the muses of two leading French poets of the time, Pierre de Ronsard and Théodore-Agrippa d’Aubigné, respectively.

Ronsard fell in love with the 15-year-old Cassandre in 1545, whom he met at a ball in Blois. He dedicated to her some of the best known sonnets in the French language. They were not allowed to marry as Ronsard was not considered a suitable match. She was married to Jean III de Peigné in 1546. Diane was the daughter of Cassandra’s brother Jean Salviati. D’Aubigné, dedicated to Diane in 1571 the collection of sonnets, ballads, and idylls entitled Le Printemps and at her death the finest of his poems, Les Tragiques. Due to his strong Hugonout religion and her Catholism the couple were unable to marry, her family objected most strongly.

In the château is the “Chambre de la Médicis” where Catherine de’ Medici and her son Charles IX are said to have planned the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew’s Day during the “Conference of Talcy” 28 and 29 June 1572.

Jean Salviati, Seigneur de Talcy passed the château to his son Foréze Salviati and it then passed to his daughter Isabella Salviati, who extended the east wing of the chateau in 1638, when the gable of the church was rebuilt. Isabella had bought the chateau from her mother (Isabeau neé Sardini) although she was married to Louis de la Marck, with whom she had 4 children. There are engraved marks of YS on the doors of the tower, denoting Isabella Salviati. The Salvatie family sold the estate in 1682. Although this may have been earlier as Antoine de Preuilly was registered to have sold it to Blanchard de St. Martin in 1674. From there the house was passed down through the family and it is known that Jeremie’s Burgeat had inherited it,recorded on his accent to the peerage in 1720. The Burgeat family owned the property between 1704-1780. They carried out extensive modernization of the building and redeveloped the gardens. Andre Burgeat sold the chateau in 1780 to Elizabeth Gastebois.

The Gastebois family, from La Rochelle were a Huguenot family and Elizabeth (1758-1830) had married Francois Charles Vincens (1757-1796), the Vincens being also Huguenot. Their daughter Marie Madeleine Pierrette Vincens married Philipp Albert Stapfer in 1798 and their family moved into the Chateau.

The chateau remained intact throughout the revolution due to the families (Gastebois, Vincens & Stapfer) strong egalitarian beliefs. Philipp and Marie had 2 sons Charles Louis(1799-854) and (Frederic) Albert(1802-1880). Charles Louis was the father of Paul Stapfer.

Albert spent his youth as a liberal journalist for ‘le Globe’ and continued to support egalitarian policies, manning the barricades in the 1830 revolution. Retiring to Talcy after his marriage to Clarey Louise Vincens in 1835, he gained an interest in Daguerreotype’s, taking a series of pictures of the Chateau, still on view there.

During the 1870 Franco-Prussian War, Albert hosted General Antoine Chanzy there, but he was driven out by the Prussians in the Battle of Beaugency (1870) in December 1870.

Albert died there in 1892, leaving it to his 3 children: Leon (Protestant minister at Jones, Le Mans and Blois), Helene Genevieve (married Etienne Debate) and Valentine. Leon retired to Talcy in 1906 and died in 1930. In 1933 Valentine and Helene Genevieve sold it to the state, on condition that the 18th-century interiors would be preserved intact.

The château is visited by 20,000 tourists annually.

Architecture
The central square tower, is likely the remains of the 1480 building with dramatic fortifications that were added in the 1520’s.

There are no accurate records currently available as to the extent of the building at this time, but a later drawing shows 2 wings, on either side of the tower. The east wing also extended north to meet the church. This section was known to have been further extended in 1638 by Isabelle Salviati whilst the church was being worked on.. The West wing was destroyed in a fire in 1723.The joining edge can be seen on the northwest corner of the tower. The 2 wings and tower enclosed the great courtyard of the Chateau that contains the well. This is covered with a distinctive roof held on stone columns built in 1814 that has become emblematic of the Chateau.

From the courtyard there is a central gate that leads into a more agriculture courtyard surrounded by barns and outbuildings also containing a large circular dove cote. This has been suggested to have been part of the medieval fortifications that was later converted. One of the barns still contains a wine press from 1808.

The 1st floor windows were enlarged and the corridors and interiors modified in the 1780’s by the Burgeat family. Later residents, the Stapfer also built, in a ground floor room a place of worship (they were a strongly Protestant family) and there is still a wooden plaque over the fireplace inscribed “Cult Evangelical Protestant”.

Whilst predominantly dating from the Renaissance the building has a strongly Medieval feel due to the central tower. The Salviati family did not build the wings in a heavily Renaissance manner, that was becoming very popular at the time due to their wish to play down their Italian background.

The Chateau was listed in 1906, with later listings for the larger environment and sold to the state by Valentine Stapfer in 1933 on the proviso that the building and interiors remain intact. The large library collection was sold in 1931.

Interior
Talcy Castle is a popular tourist destination, despite its unspectacular architecture, with almost intact interior design with furniture dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. In their entirety, they convey a vivid picture of good-willed life in the 18th and 19th centuries. The rooms are rather dignified than luxuriously furnished, and the architectural interior makes a very rustic, simple impression.

The garden hall on the ground floor of the south wing has a beamed ceiling and a honeycomb tiled floor. Its fireplace with remains of old painting comes from the first quarter of the 16th century. The eye catcher is a rare Millefleurs wall hanging from the 15th century.

The castle kitchen is architecturally still completely preserved as it was built in the 16th century. These include, for example, the ceiling with barrel vault and the three-meter-wide open hearth with a flat round arch as the upper end. On the right side of the hearth is an old oven, and the device with the rotissable spit is still functional today.

At the north end of the east wing is the bedroom Charles IX on the ground floor. with a dark paneling and a bed whose precious fabric has a French herringbone pattern. The room was given the name of a short stay of the French King Charles IX. At the age of twelve, during which he stayed in this room.

On the first floor is located above the bedroom Charles IX. the bedroom of Catherine de Medici, who spent the night there in 1562. The room has a bright beamed ceiling and a paneling in the same color. Eye-catching is the 17th century canopy bed with silk curtains. A door leads from this room directly onto a gallery in the neighboring, former castle chapel.

Above the guard room is the dining room of the castle on the first floor, the floor of which is covered with black and white tiles. Its walls are covered with light paneling in the lower quarter and near the doors. The remaining areas are decorated with a precious linen wallpaper from the time of Louis XV. covered, painted on a turquoise ground with plant tendrils and colorful flowers. Matching the light wood furniture, the furniture from the workshop of the artisan Belet is kept in white.

The adjoining room of the dining room is the Great Salon in the Donjon. It occupies its entire first floor and has – like most other castle rooms – a beamed ceiling. The white paneling has four recesses by large tapestries from Aubusson are filled. The wall hangings from the 17th century were made especially for this room, which is easily recognizable by their size, which is tailored to the paneling. They show scenes from Greek mythology. The tiled floor is covered by a large Savonnerie carpet. The peculiarity of this room is the large number of seats that can be seen there with a red satin coveringalmost all eighteenth-century species are represented: two canapés, one Bergère (French: Fauteuil Bergère ), eight queen armchairs (French: Fauteuils à la reine ) and four Cabriolet armchairs (French: Fauteuil en cabriolet ), the all come from the workshop of the Parisian cabinet-maker Jean-Baptiste Lebas. Most armchairs are grouped around two Louis-quinze style tables. Also worth seeing in this room is a black lacquered chest of drawers with gilt bronze applications from the workshop Desmoulin.

Other valuable pieces of furniture in the castle are a bed in Empire style with a canopy in the form of a tent and a so-called 18th century washstand clerk and in the Small Salon six Louis-quinze armchairs and a splendor chestpiece with Rococo décor.

Garden and park
The northern part of the castle area is one of seven hectares large garden with strictly symmetrical landscaped flowerbeds taken in the Baroque style and a small park. From the farmyard you reach a garden terrace with two lawn parterres, which are planted with low trees and surrounded by a hedge. On the north side of the terrace, a semicircular staircase leads to the lower Baroque garden, whose planting is restored to authentic 18th century lists since 1996 under the direction of landscape architect Joëlle Weill. A total of 19 parterres also serve as a fruit, vegetable and pleasure garden. The fruit parterres, where old apple and pear varieties are cultivated, are broken up by floral parterres. East of the garden is a large, well-kept lawn area, which is also a remnant of the former castle park, as the forest north of the garden, which can be accessed via a gate. It is criss-crossed by numerous paths that radiate through the forest from two central points.

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